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Public Statements

Letter to Minority Leader McConnell - New STRAT Treaty

HATCH, COLLEAGUES: LAME DUCK CONGRESS SHOULDN'T CONSIDER START TREATY

Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) and 20 Republican colleagues say the START Treaty is too critically important to national security to be considered during this lame duck session.

In a letter to Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), Hatch and others noted the Majority might try to bring the Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (START) to the Senate floor in the lame duck session and urged the leader to consult them before entering into any time or amendment agreements.

The senators wrote: "New START is a complex agreement and will have lasting implications for the national security of this nation. With the limited floor time available before Sine Die, we want to ensure that a treaty of this magnitude receives sufficient debate and consideration so that all consequences, both intended and unintended, can be vetted.

"We have numerous amendments requiring significant debate to the treaty as well as the resolution of ratification that we would like to offer and have votes on. It would be unwise and improper to do this in a hurried fashion over the course of only a few days."

In addition to Hatch, the letter was signed by Sens. John Ensign (R-Nev.), Jim DeMint (R-S.C.), Mike Enzi (R-Wyo.), Kit Bond (R-Mo.), Jim Bunning (R-Ky.), David Vitter (R-La.), John Barrasso (R-Wyo.) James Inhofe (R-Okla.), Roger Wicker (R-Miss.), Mike Johanns (R-Neb.), John Cornyn (R-Texas), Richard Shelby (R-Ala.), Richard Burr (R-N.C.), Sam Brownback (R-Kan.), Pat Roberts (R-Kan.), John Thune (R-S.D.), Mike Crapo (R-Idaho), James Risch (R-Idaho), Tom Coburn (R-Okla.) and Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa).

A copy of the Dec. 2, 2010, letter to McConnell follows:

December 2, 2010

The Honorable Mitch McConnell
Republican Leader
United States Senate
Washington, DC 20510

Dear Leader McConnell:

It is our understanding that the Majority may attempt to bring to the Senate floor the New Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (New START) during the upcoming lame duck session. We write to ask that we be consulted before any time agreement or amendment agreements are entered into. New START is a complex agreement and will have lasting implications for the national security of this nation. With the limited floor time available before Sine Die, we want to ensure that a treaty of this magnitude receives sufficient debate and consideration so that all consequences, both intended and unintended, can be vetted. We have numerous amendments requiring significant debate to the treaty as well as the resolution of ratification that we would like to offer and have votes on. It would be unwise and improper to do this in a hurried fashion over the course of only a few days.

It is also appropriate to consider that there are several new members in this body who have not been afforded the opportunity to examine this treaty and its implications. They should be afforded ample time to study the treaty, the resolution of ratification, hearing transcripts, and all supporting documents on this matter. This must include the full negotiating record which has not yet been made available to the Senate. Only by doing this will all Senators be able to make fully informed decisions on amendments and adoption.

We take the advice and consent powers granted to the Senate by the founding fathers very seriously. Rushing a matter of this magnitude through the Senate is not what they had in mind when they established this very important check on the executive branch.


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